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Medal of Honor Award Ceremony

Series/Special. Former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha receives honors for defending a U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. New.

NETWORK

DURATION
00:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 17 (141 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Clinton 11, Afghanistan 6, America 4, Us 3, Clint Romesha 3, Steffan Mace 2, United 2, Sgt Vernon Martin 2, Romesha 2, U.s. 1, North Dakota 1, Bravo Troupe 1, Tammy 1, Vanessa 1, United States 1, Lord 1, United States Army 1, Alamo 1, Lake City 1, Calif. 1,
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  CSPAN    Medal of Honor Award Ceremony    Series/Special. Former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha  
   receives honors for defending a U.S. outpost in eastern...  

    February 16, 2013
    8:00 - 8:29pm EST  

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judgment of anybody. he was just devoted to her. >> part of a three day president's day weekend. sunday night at 7:30 on c- >> next the president honors sergeant clinton romesha with the medal of honor. after that, a ceremony honoring former secretary of state hillary clinton. on monday, president obama honored sergeant clinton romesha. this is the fourth time that a living iraq or afghanistan veteran has been awarded the medal of honor. this is half an hour.
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♪ [fanfare] >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and mrs. michelle obama, accompanied by medal of honor recipient staff sgt clinton romesha.♪ ["hail to the chief"]
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>> let's pray. eternal god, from whom we come to whom we belong, and in whose service we find peace, such as written to be found in the spirit of truth and justice. on yourselves. the men of valor. be ready for the conflict. today, lord, we recognize men of valor, who in readiness for the conflict, the battle came upon them. their sacred story is one of life and death, suffering of servants faithfully rendered at the moment of truth. they belong to that small band of black knights. and a nation grateful for the men who follow and the men who lead.
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we offer our gratitude for the actions of those men that day and for the actions of arthur rhodes, an intense man, short and wiry. thank you for claiming their sacred story and writing it into our nation's history. we distill our highest honor on staff sergeant romesha and recognize his actions that day. we pray your abiding grace and eternal mercies upon the families, the friends who gave the last full measure of devotion that day. staff sgt vernon martin. sergeant gesten dagos. sergeant joshua heart. sergeant michael cusack. specialists stephen manes. and pse kevin thompson. we ask your blessing on all of
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our servicemen and women and at home and abroad to support and defend our constitution. grant them guidance. we ask this in your holy name. amen. >> please, be seated, everybody. good afternoon. on behalf of mashal and myself, -- michelle and myself, welcome to the white house. every day at the white house we received thousands of letters from folks all across america and at night upstairs in my study i read a few. about three years ago i received a letter from a mom in west virginia. her son, just 21 years old, had
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given his life in afghanistan. she had received the condolence letter that i sent to her family, as i send to every family of the fallen. and she wrote me back. mr. president, she said, you wrote me a letter telling me that my son was a hero. i just wanted you to know what kind of hero he was. my son was a great soldier, she wrote. as far back as i can remember, steffan wanted to serve his country. she spoke of how he loved his brothers, how he would do anything for them, and of the brave actions that would cost him his life, she wrote, his sacrifice was driven by pure love. today, we are honored to be
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joined by stephan's mother, vanessa, and his father, larry. please stand, vanessa and larry. [applause] we are joined by the families of the seven other patriots who gave their lives that day. can we also have them stand, so we can honor them as well? [applause] we are joined by members of bravoed troops, whose courage that day was driven by pure love. and we gather to present the
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medal of honor to one of the soldiers, staff sgt clinton romesha. this is our nation's highest military decoration and it reflects the gratitude of our entire country. we're joined by members of congress, leaders from across our armed forces, including the secretary of defense leon panetta, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff marty dempsey, army secretary john mchugh, and army chief of staff general ray odierno. we are specially liked to be joined by the iron horse division. we welcome you to the ranks. you may have a sense that clinton is a pretty humble guy.
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we just spent some time together in the oval office. he grew up in lake city, calif., population less than 100. we welcome his family, including mom and dad, tisch and gary. i hope you do not mind that we share that he was actually born at home. these days, clinton works in the oilfields of north dakota. he is a man of faith. and after more than a decade in uniform, he says the thing he looks forward to the most is just being a husband and father. in fact, this is not even the biggest event for clinton this week. because tomorrow, he and his wife, tammy, will celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary. this is probably not the intimate kind of anniversary you planned.
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[laughter] but we're so glad that you are here, along with your three children. colin is not as shy as clinton. [laughter] he was racing around the oval office pretty good. [laughter] and he sampled a number of the apples before he found the one that was just right. [laughter] to truly understand the act -- the extraordinary actions for which clinton is being honored, you need to understand the almost unbelievable conditions under which he and his troops serve. this is a time in 2009 when many of our troops still served in small, rugged outposts, even as our commanders were shifting the focus to larger towns and cities.
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combat outpost keating was a collection of buildings of concrete and plywood and trenches and sandbags. of all the outposts in afghanistan, keating was among the most remote. it stands at the bottom of a steep valley surrounded by mountains. terrain that a later investigation said gave ideal cover for insurgents to attack. the investigation found that it was tactically indefensible. that is what the soldiers were asked to do, defended the indefensible. the attack came in the morning just as the sun rose. some of the guys were standing guard. most, like clint, were still sleeping. the explosions shook them out of their beds and sent them rushing for weapons. and soon, the odds became clear.
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these 53 americans were surrounded by more than 300 taliban fighters. what happened next has been described as one of the most intense battles of the entire war in afghanistan. the attackers had the advantage, a high ground, the mountains above. and they run the machine -- they were unleashing everything they had, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, snipers taking aim. to those americans coming -- to those americans down below, the fire was coming from every direction. they had never seen anything like it. gunfire impacting all around them, clinton raised to one of the barracks machine guns. he took aim at one of the enemy teams and took it out. a rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and into his neck. but he kept fighting, disregarding his own wound, and tending to an injured conrad-- comrade
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instead. then over the radio came words no soldier ever wants to hear. enemy in the wire. the taliban had penetrated the camp and were taking over buildings. the combat was close, at times as close as 10 feet. when clinton took aim at three of them, they never took another step. but still, the enemy advance. the americans pulled back to buildings that are easier to defend to make one last stand. one of them was later compared to the alamo. keating, it seemed, was going to be overrun. and that is when clinton romesha decided to take the camp back. he gathered up his guys and they began to fight their way back, storming one building, then another, pushing the enemy back, having to actually shoot up at the enemy in the mountains above. by now, most of the camp was on
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fire. amid the flames and smoke, clinton stood in the doorway, calling in an airstrike that shook the buildings around them. over the radio, they heard comrades pinned down in a humvee. clinton and his team unloaded everything they had into the enemy positions, and with that cover, three wounded americans made their escape, including a grievously injured steffan mace. but more injured were out there. clinton and his team started charging as enemy fire poured down. and it kept charging, 50 meters, 80 meters, ultimately, a 100- meter run through a hail of bullets. they reached their fallen friends and they brought them home. throughout history, the question has often been asked, why.
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why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks? and what compels them to such courage? if you ask clinton and any of these soldiers here today, they will tell you, they fight for our country and for our freedom. they fight to come home to their families. most of all, they fight for each other, to keep each other safe, and to have each other's backs. i called clinton to tell him that he would receive his medal. he said he was honored, but he also said, it was not just me out there, but a team effort. so today, we also honor this american team, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. private first class kevin thompson, who would have turned 26 years old today. sgt michael scuza. sergeant christopher griffin.
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staff sergeant justin gallegos. staff sgt vernon martin. sgt joshua heart. and a specialist steffan mace. each of these patriots gave their lives looking out for each other in a battle that raged all day. that brand of selflessness was displayed again and again and again. soldiers exposing themselves to enemy fire to pull a comrade to safety. tending to each other's loans, -- wounds, performing transfusions, giving each other their own blood. if you seek a measure that day, you need to look no further than the ribbons and medals that grace their chests. 37 army commendation medals.
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for their wounds, 27 purple hearts. for their valor, 18 bronze stars. before their gallantry, nine silver stars. these men were outnumbered, outgunned, and almost overrun. looking back, one of them said, i'm surprised that we made it out. but here they are today. and this -- i ask this band of brothers to stand and accept the gratitude of our entire nation. [applause] there are many lessons from this event. one of them is that our troops
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should never, ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible. but that is what the soldiers did for each other in sacrifice driven by pure love. and because they did, eight grieving families were able to welcome their sons home one last time, and many are there to carry on to keep alive the memories of their fallen brothers, and to help us to remember why this country remains strong and free. how so few americans prevailed against so many, as we prepare for the citation, i will leave you with the words of clinton himself. because they say something about the army and something about america. they say something about our spirit, which will never be broken.
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"we were not going to be beaten that day. we will not back down in the face of adversity like that. we're just going to win, plain and simple." god bless you, clint romesha, and all of your team. god bless all who serve, and god bless the united states of america. with that, i would like the citation to be ready. >> the president of the united states of america, authorized by act of congress, march 3, 1963, has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to
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staff sergeant clinton romesha, u.s. army, for conspicuous gallantry and intricately above and beyond the call of duty. clinton romesha this in which-- distinguished himself at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in the fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, during combat against an enemy in afghanistan on october 3, 2009. on that morning, staff sergeant romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters, employing concentrated fire from a rocket-propelled grenade from anti-aircraft machine guns, and small armed fire as well as mortars. they were compelled to seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning action.
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staff sergeant romesha took out an enemy machine-gun team, and while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by an rpd, and struck him with shrapnel wound. undeterred by his injuries, he continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he then assembled as it additional soldiers. he mobilized a five-man team and it returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. with out regard to his own safety, he consistently exposed himself to enemy fire as he moved confidently about the battlefield, killing many enemy fighters. while orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforced key point of the battlefield, staff sergeant romesha maintain communication through radio with the tactical operations center. as the enemy forces attacked with greater ferocity, staff
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sergeant romesha identify the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. after receiving reports of seriously injured soldiers at a distant opposition, he provided covering fire for them to safely reach the aid station. upon receiving the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters over -- under overwhelming enemy fire to prevent the fighters from taking the bodies of their fallen comrades. his heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing far greater numbers. his efforts gave the opportunity to reorganize and prepare for a counterattack and allowed the trip to account for its personnel and security outpost. his discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, bravo
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troupe, the third squadron, 64th cavalry regiment, fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, and the united states army. [applause]
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>> let's pray. almighty god, we have gathered to give recognition to the spirit that made our country great, the willingness to give totally of ourselves even unto death. the great blessing of being a part of this country with the honor example of staff sergeant romesha, for this, we'd bring you thanks. we were deeply blessed by his presence. as his ancestors inspired his service, they inspire greater generations into service. the periphery of a province that we would be kept safe, that we return our hearts to you each and every day.
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we ask this in your holy name each and every day. amen. >> thank you, everybody. most of all, thank you, clinton and the entire team and their extraordinary devotion and service to our country. we will have an opportunity to celebrate. there will be a wonderful reception. i hear the food around here is pretty good. i know the band is good. and colin really needs to get down [laughter] enjoy, everybody. give our newest recipient of the medal of honor a big round of applause once again. [applause]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute]
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>> following the ceremony, the army staff sergeant spoke briefly with reporters. >> good afternoon. >> come over here. >> thank you. good afternoon and thank you for joining us. my name is captain dan murphy. in a moment and i will introduce clint romesha to you. he has a few remarks to make, but he will not be taking any questions today. if there are any questions you
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have, we will follow up with his phone number and everything. it is my privilege and honor to introduce a former staff sergeant, clint romesha. >> members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon thank you for sharing this very special day with me. i stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness for me today. i do not think i am much different than a medal of honor recipient, first-class patriot, and former sergeant junta. and feeling conflicted with this medal i now where, the jury
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-- the joy comes with the recognition of what we do on the battlefield, but is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of my battle buddies, my soldiers. my friends. i am grateful that some of the heroes of combat outpost keating are here with us. and any one of them will tell you we were not going to be beaten that day. i want them to know how proud i am of them. they trusted in me, a noncommissioned officer, to be their leader, and i thank them so much for that loyalty. i accept this tremendous honor on behalf of all soldiers who served with me that day. this award is for the eight soldiers who did not make it. and for the rest of the team that fought valiantly and
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magnificently that day. i will forever be humbled by their bravery, their commitment to service, and their loyalty to one another. serving our nation in uniform is a privilege, especially during times of war. like my grandfather, my father, and my brothers, i am proud to have the opportunity to serve with some of the finest soldiers today. not only doing our mission in afghanistan, but on all of my deployments and tours in my 11 years in the army. our military service has strengthened, thanks to the tremendous support provided by military families and the military families and the american public.